West Virginia has a history with marijuana that dates back to the 1970s and 1980s, during a time when many states introduced medical marijuana laws. After facing pressure from patients and physicians, governments finally responded, with a total of 33 states, including West Virginia enacting medical marijuana laws. The state didn’t officially legalize medical marijuana until recently though, making West Virginia the 29th state to legalize medical marijuana. This bill still needs work though, as it is very limited because it even prohibits marijuana in its natural, flower form, but lawmakers expect to work to improve the program next year.
Marijuana advocates also continue to push for full legalization in the state because the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy examined the economic impact of legalization and found positive results. They concluded that West Virginia could raise approximately $45 million in marijuana taxes, while also saving another $17 million that’s spent on enforcing the law now. More importantly, they found that West Virginia marijuana legalization could help with the state’s opioid epidemic, “...marijuana may potentially have a positive impact on West Virginia’s opioid-based painkiller and heroin epidemic by offering another, less-addictive alternative to individuals who are suffering from debilitating medical conditions.” This is enough reason for lawmakers and advocates to continue pushing for legalization in the state.